The effects of climate change is seen in different parts of the world. It is important for people to realize the reality of this global issue. Many people still think that climate change won’t have significant effects on their lives. But there are real, damaging implications of climate change.
Some of the effects of climate change are
- rise in global temperature
- rise in sea levels
- imbalance in weather (precipitation and heat waves)
There are many other facts about climate change that can shed light onto the severity of this change. Some of the effects that are occurring and that will only continue to increase are as follows:
The global average temperature has increased by 1.4⁰F since the late 19th century. The increased concentration of greenhouse gases(including carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere is the main cause of climate change.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated that if the current trend of carbon dioxide emissions continues, the global temperature could increase by 4-8⁰F by the year 2100.
The ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland are melting rapidly due to global warming. Thousands of glaciers are also melting progressively because of rise in the global temperature. The rate of loss of Arctic sea ice is also accelerating. At this rate, Glacier National Park in Montana, US will lose all its glaciers by 2070.
Moreover, NASA stated that the polar ice cap is melting at a rate of 9% per ten years at present.
Rise in sea levels
Accelerated melting of ice due to warming has increased rise in sea levels around the world. The Intergovernmental Panel on climate change has stated that, the global sea level might rise by 7-23 inches by the end of 21st century. This is a serious threat to people living in coastal regions as millions of people may get displaced.
High carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere acidifies the waters of our oceans. It is estimated that, with the current trend of carbon dioxide levels, turn of this century could see surface water to be 150% more acidic.
This could have dramatic consequences for species such as clams, sea urchins and oysters. Ocean acidification is also damaging to corals.
Frequent occurrence of natural hazards
Change in climate amplifies the change in precipitation pattern worldwide causing flooding and droughts. For instance, flooding has been increasing in the eastern part of the United States whereas the Southwest has been witnessing severe droughts.
With the increase in global temperature, heat waves and wildfires have become more frequent and dangerous.
Effects on well-being and health
Climate change affects human health and could threaten their survival if not monitored and controlled. It affects many determinants of health such as air, water, food and shelter. Direct impacts are due to the rising temperature, hurricanes, storms, droughts and frequent flooding. Scientists have linked climate change to the widespread of infectious diseases through vectors like mosquitoes, rodents and ticks.
Effects on wildlife
As the temperature has risen, many of the plant and animal species are affected globally. Climate change will most likely increase the extinction of species that are vulnerable to climate change.